Let’s face it; we live in world run by digital communication. Live human contact is slowly becoming a thing of the past. It’s gotten to the point where when someone calls me (instead of sending me a text), I think something is terribly wrong and I get nervous. I am personally better at expressing myself through words rather than face to face human contact so I don’t mind living in these times. However, there are moments were words alone can not express your true intended feelings. The late 1990s A.I.M. generation popularized internet slang like “LOL”, “BRB” and “ROFL” to tackle this issue. Even that isn’t enough sometimes so we popularized the use of emoticons, which (in case you have been living in the Gibraltar subway for the last twenty years) is typed character representation of a facial expression used to designate tone, such as , and .
This might come off as slightly misogynistic, and if it does, I apologize, but I can only speak for my gender when I say, overuse of emoticons can come off as “unmanly” and just plain wrong. What does it mean to be unmanly? Nothing important really. I shouldn’t be the one defining a chapter in the “Guy Code” as I violate the rules of traditional manhood every day. With that being said, I did it anyway, so be angry if you will.
Here are my rules for Emoticon Use for Men.
1. Emotion use should be restricted to the following simple to type symbols: :-) :-( ;-), and the occasional :-X(see rule 6). Use of emotions with any more characters (such as :-D, :-<, >:O,:Þ among others) means you put way too much effort into expressing you emotions in a text message. Emoticons should always appear to be organic spur of the moment expressions.
2. Emoticons should only be used with people you could foresee as a viable sexual partner with few exceptions (see rule 3). Don’t use emoticons with a friend or co-worker. It will come off as creepy.
3. Emotions are totally cool to use with children such as a little cousin or your niece as long as you are not using them for the reasons expressed in rules 2,4, and especially not rule 7.
4. Emoticons should be used in cases of flirting, as a way to “raise the stakes” without seeming like you are being overly forceful. Example “We should get some coffee tomorrow.” Versus “We should get some coffee tomorrow ;-)” Phrase two is much less pushy. Same goes for “Want to come back to my place?” versus “Want to come back to my place? Lol ” Something about option two makes you less of a threat.
5. Once you are 100% comfortable in a relationship with another person, you shall cease using emoticons with said individual.
6. If you ever send someone a message that you regret “:-X” can make things a little bit better. You can’t take back your words or unring bells in real life but the “:-X” is the closest you will come to it in the digital world.
7. “@>——–“, known as the Rose Emoticon, is only used for soliciting sex. Since you shouldn’t be soliciting sex, NEVER use it.
8. Never use “:-*” to indicate a kiss. Men don’t kiss like that in real life, and someone has yet to invent a keyboard with a button expressing the way real men do kiss.
9. Do not overuse emoticons. They should be use sparingly and only towards the benefit of a long term vision you have for the receiving person.
10. If you are using emoticons, and the person you are using them with starts using them back with you, take this as a compliment. People don’t use emoticons unless they are interested positively in the person they are talking to.